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Curtis Davidson Collection

Collection Overview

  • 43 audio reels
  • 58 records
  • 2 CDs
  • 5 cassettes


Curtis Davidson (1913-2001) was a trumpeter from Quincy, Florida who was dedicated to sharing his passion for Dixieland Jazz music throughout the Southeast. His lifelong love affair with the trumpet started when he was 16 years old. It was during this time that he formed his own Dixieland Jazz group that he would continue to play in almost to the end of his life.

While still in his teens, Davidson became friends with Dan Langford (brother of FSU Foundation Board member George Langford), who was a radio personality in Thomasville, Georgia. Davidson would play live shows in Thomasville for the radio. The response for the sessions was great, and people would send telegrams to the radio stations to make requests for Davidson to play.

Dixieland was made easily available to Mr. Davidson through clear channel radio WWL in New Orleans and the Gulf Wind train. The Gulf Wind train ran from Quincy to New Orleans twice a day. With horn in hand, Davidson would take the train to New Orleans to listen to the music and participate in any jam sessions that might ensue.

It was during his travels to New Orleans, that he began a close friendship with Edmund Souchon. Edmund Souchon was the surgeon general for the Pan American Life Insurance Company. Souchon was a supporter of jazz, and he founded the New Orleans Jazz Festival that still exists today.

Davidson volunteered during World War II, and he served in the Army Corp Band at Keisler Field, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Following the war, he returned to Quincy to manage the largest movie theater between Jacksonville and Pensacola, the Leaf Theater. Mr. Davidson held this position for approximately twenty years.

The Curtis Davidson Collection comprises a number of recordings in reel-to-reel, cassette, and compact disc format. These recordings document performances of the Curtis Davidson Orchestra and Curtis Davidson and his Southerners from 1930-1980. The recordings are primarily of the genre called Dixieland jazz which was prominent in New Orleans and the Big Bend area during this time. Davidson spent his nights playing throughout the southeast. He was interested in recording and many of these gigs were recorded on his own Wollensak tape recorder. These reel-to-reel recordings hold a prominent position in the collection. Some recordings feature former FSU professor of piano Dr. Robert Glotzbach and meteorologist Bill Ragsdale, who was known as “Willie the Weatherman.”